On Monday, April 2, 2018 I received a huge envelope from Nicolas Malevitsis containing postcards, magazines, and three CONFIDENTIAL artworks featuring rubber stamp heads of Rafael González and me superimposed on photos of sites in Greece. CONFIDENTIAL is a conceptual mail art collaborative project created by Rafael and me in 2016. We sent numerous modified photo postcards with our rubber stamp heads attached in various settings along with the rubber stamped word CONFIDENCIAL or CONFIDENTIAL. Soon other people started spontaneously participating!
Hello Friends! On the right side of every blog page you will now find a list of Blog Categories. This will make it easier for you to find the blog entries that you enjoy. Click on each Category name to go to a page containing only blog posts pertinent to that general topic.
If you have a project that you would like to share with the friends here --
such as a radio program or podcast, an archival site, a compilation project, an event or show/fest, a new painting or collage or other art of yours, etc. --
contact me via email with the info and links and such and I will make a blog post for your item. You can even write the blog post yourself!
When involved in social media such as Facebook I have tried to maintain a Friends list of no more than 150 people because when the list gets much bigger than that I find that I have trouble keeping up with who is who! I wonder if we have limits in any social network, such as the so-called Cassette Network of the 1980s, on how many people we can maintain stable, meaningful relationships with. Below is the opening paragraph of Wikipedia's article on Dunbar's number. Please share your thoughts on your own experiences. Is this a problem at all for any of you? Or is it merely an Internet problem?
Dunbar's number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships—relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person. This number was first proposed in the 1990s by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who found a correlation between primate brain size and average social group size. By using the average human brain size and extrapolating from the results of primates, he proposed that humans can comfortably maintain only 150 stable relationships. Dunbar explained it informally as "the number of people you would not feel embarrassed about joining uninvited for a drink if you happened to bump into them in a bar".
Me personally, I do not think that CDRs are inherently bad. I use CDRs these days to distribute hard copies of my audio art because they are much less expensive to mail than cassettes because I can mail them via Letter Rate instead of Package postal rate. The difference is astounding. It costs $13 to mail one cassette (or CD in a thick case) from USA to an international destination. I can mail one CDR in a plastic slipcase inside an envelope for only about $3.50 to destinations in Europe.
As for the lack of long letters, yes I too hardly ever write long letters any more, it's true! But here is the thing: my audio collage works are loaded with my spoken personal thoughts, ideas and reflections, along with sounds from my daily life. I make the audio art itself as personal as possible. When you listen to a 75-minute dictaphone assemblage by me it is like you are spending five hours with me because there are four layers of sounds happening simultaneously. The listener can immerse themselves in the experience and listen closely to all of the details on headphones, or just put my CDR playing in the background as they go about their own daily activities in such a way that the two combine for an even richer experience.
It is NOT impossible to forge friendships in today's online music world.
A few years ago a fellow in Sweden named Per-Arne Hognert started buying numerous downloads from my Bandcamp sites. I want to mention that I make my Bandcamp albums as personal as possible. They are often loaded with photos, liner note booklets, and printable cassette and CD cover files. Plus, I always try to write an email thanking each customer for purchasing the download. One customer was amazed that I would take the trouble to write and thank him for purchasing a $1 download. Any way, Per-Arne and I started exchanging emails, and we soon thereafter started collaborating on audio projects! I now consider P-A one of my best friends and associates, and you can find several collabs with him on my website. To this date he has purchased about 300 downloads of my music as well as many many hard copies on cassette and CDR. He truly has supported my projects creatively and financially in a way that reminds me of the devotion that many of us felt back in the 80s.
I made another great lifelong friend in Rafael González via online interactions. Rafael originally made his first cassette recordings back in 1986, back in the Glory Days of Cassette Culture. But we did not know each other until the 2010s when Rafa started contributing to my online compilation projects such as the multi-volume International Email Audio Art Project. Over the last several years we have collaborated on numerous audio and visual art projects, and have forged a deep friendship. We communicate nearly every day through personal messaging. As has so often been the case since 1981 my best friends in this world live in locations hundreds and often thousands of miles away.
As Don Campau recently pointed out perhaps the most important aspect of Hometaper Culture is Communication. And I'll add to that Friendship and Fun, both of which of course go along with Communication.
So, in my opinion we need to keep on looking for ways to move forward while doing our best to remain true to our ideals. I'm not sure that we can ever re-gain that original Cassette Culture feeling. It's 2018, not 1986. But we can do our best within the current technological situation to make our art as personal as possible and to hold on to that spirit of independence, joy of creation for the love of creation, and we can feel fortunate that we can continue to create!
For me it is important to create/record every day. I carry a dictaphone with me everywhere every day. This way of moving through the world, ever ready to capture sounds, to direct my attention toward the phenomena of my daily life, serves to transform my daily reality. The mundane details of daily life become bigger events. Every moment is precious and filled with adventure!